Punk Rock Is Bullshit?
Find common denominator, reduce to cliché, look up thesaurus and repeat. Find the self-righteous in you, express it in a vacuous bucket full of shit sort of way and rub in vigorously. Essentially, acquire tried and tested techniques of generalisations and stereotypes that you would expect from a right wing tabloid, and dress it in Christopher Hitchens cheese and wine establishment critique. A sort of Everett True genetically modified using John McGuirks DNA. Now I’m starting to repeat myself.
Punk rock did not have a single set of motives. It may not have defeated Thatcherism or Reaganism, but, at what point is this particular music being measured by a standard no other has been held to? It influenced people to think for themselves and challenged the homogenised conservative ideological backwater this inward thinking punch drunk fuck nut just churned out. It was its unhinged confrontation within the medium it emerged kicking and spitting from that made it more challenging and unique for its time and in a historic sense.
The irony I’m sure is not lost on him (or is it?) after putting so much effort into realising it, is that, he is trying to put the boot in on punk. How? In as punk rock a manner as he can. Maybe that’s the point. Only problem is though, Crass beat him to it by 35 years, and did it much more effectively, by declaring it dead. Not like some revisionist historian trying to justify their book by rearranging conveniently defined stats to push their agenda on who was the biggest monster of the 20th century, they redefined the parameters by kicking punk’s teeth in. This pisstaker on the other hand is too self satisfied to give credit to. You can dress up the wording any way you like, you can eviscerate yourself, be as indignant, as passionate as you want but, even with the added horsemeat, it’s still just a burger.
Punk was/is a medium of music built to challenge the prevailing sentiments and expose the fraudulence of its environment; clearly he was listening to something else. In fact, some of what he considers the bullshit punk, I’d agree with, but then that’s because it’s not fuckin punk. Anyway, calling out Courtney Love or The Sex Pistols to take pot shots at Punk is like citing the Sugar Hill Gang in a rant against militant Hip Hop. How do I know what is true Punk? I’m not an authority sure, but then, is it not against all authority? Or is it that the only authority is you? So fuck it I am. Depending on what your criteria of this art form consists defines to what extent you consider something punk. As for John Roderick’s definition? might as well call Will Smith a gangster because he raps.
As for pseudo punk values, there are plenty of examples to contradict that as well as to support it. It’s like the keep it real argument where one person talks keeping it real in a true to the music sense even at the expense of success, another to the lifestyle due to their wealth accrued from it. Clearly his definition of punk is different to others, and I’m not talking his critique. If we are to take such liberties, which is fine by me, the best singer songwriters I have heard are punk in a very real way. It is a challenge to orthodoxy and is embodied by many artists from Dead Kennedys to Chuck D to Temper-Mental MissElayneous to Crass, RIRA/Scary Eire, The Coup, and Jinx Lennon, among countless others. His view of punk is all encompassing and fits his article perfectly like a Jeremy Kyle smile, comfortably on a prick. This toxic social movement may have poisoned John Roderick’s culture but unfortunately it didn’t kill it. And for our penance, repeat after me the chorus
Punk isn’t bullshit, Punk is dead.